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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Holy Bunzzzz!!

Hot Cross Buns – (recipe adapted from) Bread and Rolls, Pg. 70 – Antoinette E. Smith (Mrs. A. E.)

In addition to being a song that everyone rocked out to on their elementary school recorder, hot cross buns are also tasty treat. Hot Cross Buns, traditionally baked on Good Friday, are a sweet spiced bun usually made with raisins or dried fruit, originally marked with a cross to signify a Christian symbol, but now it’s mainly because we like frosting! In olden days the cross would have been imprinted onto the bun during baking rather than using frosting…AND in olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked on something shocking, now heaven knows, anything goes! Accordingly to folklore, if you make hot cross buns on Good Friday, they will remain good for the rest of the year. Holy Bunz!! We’ll never know as ours won’t last that long – and we never eat expired bread, holy or not. If you try this, we recommend a thorough mold inspection.

We have a confession to make – we pretty much know nothing about making yeast bread. After attempting an earlier post – the Tea Ring – not once, BUT twice – and having to bring Peter’s mamma in for reinforcement – we walked away from the yeast and never looked back. It was a difficult breakup, but definitely best for everyone involved.

We’ve been taunted by the thought of baking yummy breads and buns – and the Dutch Oven is loaded with them. So today! Good Friday – the day reserved for baking and eating hot cross buns – is the day of reckoning! We’ve decided to face our yeast fears and kick it in the bunz!

Soooooooooo..the Dutch Oven recipe for hot cross buns starts out by making something called a yeast sponge (also known as a starter) – ya – I know right!?…well this was too much too soon, so we called on our good friend Martha for some tips on how to simplify the process a bit – based on her suggestions we’ve made a couple of changes to this recipe. Oh yeah – and if you been following our adventures – you are likely aware of our stance on raisins – so we’ve decided to use cinnamon chips instead – YaY!

Hot Cross Buns


2 cups milk
2 packages active dry yeast
3 eggs (beaten)
½ cup butter (melted)
¾ cup sugar
7 ½ cups flour (sifted)
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups cinnamon chips (or raisins if that’s your thing)
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 egg (white only)
1 tbsp water


2 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt


In a small saucepan – heat milk to 110 degrees, pour into mixer bowl fitted with dough hook. On low speed add sugar, yeast (proof according to directions), butter, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and eggs. Add flour, 1 cup at a time until mixture is combined and smooth dough is formed.

Add mix-ins (cinnamon chips or raisins) and mix. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead to incorporate mix-ins. Coat a large bowl with butter and shape dough into ball and place in prepared bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Generously butter a baking dish or cookie tray. Turn dough onto surface, knead briefly and divide into 20-24 equal pieces, shape into tight balls. Place in prepared baking dish about ½ an inch apart. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg white and 1 tbsp of water. Brush tops of buns with egg-white wash. Bake 20-22 minutes, rotating halfway through and until golden brown.

Allow buns to cool for 30 minutes. Whisk icing ingredients together and transfer to piping bag. Pipe icing onto buns in the shape of a cross – or just pour it onto like a glaze.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Please Pass the Potatoes...

Scalloped Potatoes – Vegetable and Supper Dishes, Pg. 163 – Stella A. Lohnes (Mrs. J. A.)

What’d you do with the potatoes?! That’s what your friends and family will be asking when they try these fantastical potatoes! Scalloped potatoes are a popular maritime side dish – extremely popular with a ham dinner. Commonly referred to as a gratin, scalloped potatoes consist of thinly sliced potatoes in a cream sauce usually baked in a shallow dish and topped with breadcrumbs and/or cheese to form a crusty topping as it bakes.

The Dutch Oven Cookbook provides a simple classic version of this dish – the same version many of our Mom’s used to make for Sunday dinner. While it’s a fine recipe, we tested a few different ones over the years that have stepped it up a notch or two by adding some unexpected ingredients. Our favorite recipe for scalloped potatoes comes from . This recipe uses some added ingredienthttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifs like fresh thyme and chicken stock to step up the flavor factor– so for this post we present a Dutch oven / America’s Test Kitchen mash up! Two recipes – five potatoes – one flavor sensational side dish!

Scalloped Potatoes


5-6 medium potatoes (thinly sliced)
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 cloves are garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp fresh thyme (minced) – chives would work nicely as well
2 bay leaves
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp fresh pepper
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk (cream can be used for a creamier sauce)
1 cup cheddar cheese
¼ cup panko bread crumbs


Thinly slice 5 medium potatoes (a mandolin is a great time saver for this). Using a large pan, sauté onion for about 5 minutes, until softened (shouldn’t be browned). Add garlic, thyme, salt and pepper to onion, sauté for about a minute. Add potatoes, chicken stock, milk and bay leaves - simmer for 10 minutes until potatoes are softened. Transfer the potatoes to a baking dish (9x11 works well). Sprinkle cheese and breadcrumbs on top. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

With this quick, easy and delicious recipe – we guarantee that the folks around your dinner table will be asking you to – please pass the potatoes!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

When You're Rollin' Out the Dough...

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies – Old Lunenburg Recipes, Pg. 24 – Belle Backman Mack (Mrs. S.E. Mack)

Ugh…feeling slightly nauseous...WAY too much cookie dough. We will likely slip into a temporary cookie dough coma when we complete this post. We feel it necessary to preface this blog post with a word of warning – This cookie dough is dangerously good! We mean sit down and eat it with a spoon good…not that we would ever do that…don’t judge. In fact, we think it’s safe to say that this cookie dough in its raw form is better than the actual baked cookie.

There’s something about Mary…and something about molasses cookies and the way the smell of the molasses and spices drifting from the oven transport you back to grandma’s kitchen. This particular cookie is a soft and airy variation of the molasses cookie with a strong molasses flavor…kinda reminds us of a homemade version of a bear paw cookie.

Not so surprisingly, this recipe doesn’t give any instruction on how to actually prepare the cookies for baking. We suspect the original method used was to roll the dough out and cut the dough into shapes. Although this isn’t a crisp gingerbread type cookie, these type of molasses cookies were often cut into circular shapes with a biscuit cutter and sprinkled with a little sugar. Well…as everyone knows…when you’re rollin’ out the dough, you must make sure to roll it slow (Bibbi Bobka style) – well we weren’t in a Bibbi Bobka kinda mood today. So instead we rolled the dough into small balls (I used a 1.5 tbsp scoop), coated them with sugar (why not), and gently pressed them down with the palm of our hand. While baking, the cookies formed a natural circular shape, rising slightly. The sugar created a nice sweet crunchy exterior with a soft, moist interior loaded with molasses-sy goodness.

If you’re looking for a chewy type of molasses cookie (which we actually prefer), this isn’t it. But for those looking for a great old fashioned molasses cookie that will remind many of the kind granny used to make – you’ve found it!

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies


2 Cups Molasses (that’s a whole lotta molasses)
1 Cup of Shortening
1 tsp Nutmeg
½ tsp Cloves
2 Dessert Spoons Cinnamon (I know right?! Figure it out, we had too!)
2 Desserts Spoons Ginger
2 Dessert Spoons Baking Soda
1 Egg (beaten)
5 Cups Flour (unsifted)


Combine first 7 ingredients in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat. Allow to boil for one minute. Transfer mixture to electric mixer. Beat on medium speed for 5 to 10 minutes, allowing to cool. Once cooled the mixture will resemble chocolate frosting (mmmmm frosting…). On low speed, beat in the egg and flour. To prepare the cookies for baking you can use the method we chose above, or go with the more traditional method of rollin’ out the dough…just remember – when you roll the dough too quick, Bibbi Bobkas make you sick! Actually its more likely that eating too much raw cookie dough will make you sick.

Now entering cookie dough coma….ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. EAT.